Nastaʿlīq (Persian: نستعلیق, from نسخ Naskh and
تعلیق Taʿlīq) is one of the main calligraphic hands used in
writing the Persian alphabet, and traditionally the predominant style
in Persian calligraphy. It was developed in
Iran in the 14th and
15th centuries. It is sometimes used to write Arabic-language text
(where it is known as Taʿlīq or Persian and is mainly used for
titles and headings), but its use has always been more popular in the
Persian, Turkic and
Urdu sphere of influence. Nastaʿlīq remains very
widely used in Iran, Pakistan, India,
Afghanistan and other countries
for written poetry and as a form of art.
A less elaborate version of Nastaʿlīq serves as the preferred style
for writing in Kashmiri, Punjabi and Urdu, and it is often used
alongside Naskh for Pashto. In Persian it is used for poetry only.
Nastaʿlīq was historically used for writing Ottoman Turkish, where
it was known as tâlik (not to be confused with a totally different
Persian style, also called taʿlīq; to distinguish the two, Ottomans
referred to the latter as taʿlīq-i qadim, "old taʿlīq").
Nastaʿlīq is the core script of the post-
Sassanid Persian writing
tradition, and is equally important in the areas under its cultural
influence. The languages of
Iran (Western Persian, Azeri, Balochi,
Kurdi, Luri, etc.),
Afghanistan (Dari, Pashto, Uzbek, Turkmen, etc.),
Pakistan (Punjabi, Urdu, Kashmiri, Saraiki, etc.), and the Turkic
Uyghur language of the Chinese province of Xinjiang, rely on
Nastaʿlīq. Under the name taʿliq (lit. “suspending [script]”),
it was also beloved by Ottoman calligraphers who developed the Diwani
(divanî) and Ruqah (rık’a) styles from it.
Nastaʿlīq is amongst the most fluid calligraphy styles for the
Arabic script. It has short verticals with no serifs, and long
horizontal strokes. It is written using a piece of trimmed reed with a
tip of 5–10 mm (0.2–0.4 in), called qalam (pen-قلم,
Arabic and Persian قلم), and carbon ink, named davat. The nib of
a qalam can be split in the middle to facilitate ink
Two important forms of Nastaʿlīq panels are
Chalipa and Siah-Mashq.
Chalipa ("cross", in Persian) panel usually consists of four
diagonal hemistiches (half-lines) of poetry, clearly signifying a
moral, ethical or poetic concept. Siah-
Mashq ("black drill") panels,
however, communicate via composition and form, rather than content. In
Siah-Mashq, repeating a few letters or words (sometimes even one)
virtually inks the whole panel. The content is thus of less
significance and not clearly accessible.
2 Notable Nastaʿlīq calligraphers
4 Nastaʿlīq typesetting
4.1 Nastaʿlīq electronic publishing and DTP
5 Shekasteh Nastaʿlīq
6 See also
8 Further reading
9 External links
Chalipa panel, Mir Emad.
بودم به تو عمری و ترا سیر ندیدم
از وصل تو هرگز به مرادی نرسیدم
از بهر تو بیگانه شدم از همه خویشان
وحشی صفت از خلق به یکبار بریدم
After the Islamic conquest of Persia, the Iranian Persian people
adopted the Perso-
Arabic script, and the art of Persian calligraphy
Iran as territories of the former Persian empire.
Mir Ali Tabrizi (14th century) developed Nastaʿlīq by
combining two existing scripts of Nasḫ and Taʿlīq. Hence, it
was originally called Nasḫ-Taʿlīq. Another theory holds that the
name Nastaʿlīq means "that which abrogated (naskh)
Nastaʿlīq thrived, and many prominent calligraphers contributed to
its splendor and beauty. It is believed[by whom?] that Nastaʿlīq
reached its highest elegance in Mir Emad's works. The current practice
of Nastaʿlīq is, however, heavily based on Mirza Reza Kalhor's
technique. Kalhor modified and adapted Nastaʿlīq to be easily used
with printing machines, which in turn helped wide dissemination of his
transcripts. He also devised methods for teaching Nastaʿlīq and
specified clear proportional rules for it, which many could
Mughal Empire used Persian as the court language during their rule
over South Asia. During this time, Nastaʿlīq came into widespread
use in South Asia. The influence continues to this day. In Pakistan,
almost everything in
Urdu is written in the script, constituting the
greatest part of Nastaʿlīq usage in the world. The situation of
Bangladesh used to be the same as in
Urdu ceased to remain an official language. Today, only a
few people use this form of writing in Bangladesh.
Nastaʿlīq is a descendant of Nasḫ and Taʿlīq. Shekasteh
Nastaʿlīq (literally "broken Nastaʿlīq") style is a development of
Notable Nastaʿlīq calligraphers
Example showing «خط نستعلیق» (Nastaʿlīq script)
written in Nastaʿlīq.
Mir Ali Tabrizi
Mirza Mohammad Reza Kalhor
And others, including Mirza Jafar Tabrizi, Abdul Rashid Deilami,
Sultan Ali Mashadi, Mir Ali Heravi, Emad Ul-Kottab, Mirza Gholam Reza
Esfehani, Emadol Kotab, Yaghoot Mostasami, and Darvish Abdol Majid
And among contemporary artists: Hassan Mirkhani, Hossein Mirkhani,
Keikhosro Khoroush, Abbas Akhavein and Qolam-Hossein Amirkhani, Ali
Akbar Kaveh, Kaboli.
Islamic calligraphy was originally used to adorn Islamic religious
texts, specifically the Qur'an, as pictorial ornaments were prohibited
in Islam. Therefore, a sense of sacredness was always implicit in
A Nastaʿlīq disciple was supposed to qualify himself spiritually for
being a calligrapher, besides learning how to prepare qalam, ink,
paper and, more importantly, master Nastaʿlīq. For instance see Adab
al-Mashq, a manual of penmanship attributed to Mir Emad.[citation
Folio of Poetry From the Divan of Sultan Husayn Mirza, ca. 1490.
Quatrain on the Virtue of Patience by Muhammad Muhsin Lahuri of the
Spousal Advice by Abdallah Lahuri of the Mughal Empire.
An example of the
Nastaʿlīq script used for writing Urdu
Nastaʿlīq Typography first started with attempts to develop a
metallic type for the script, but all such efforts failed. Fort
William College developed a Nastaʿlīq Type, which was not close
enough to Nastaʿlīq and hence was never used other than by the
college library to publish its own books. The State of Hyderabad Dakan
(now in India) also attempted to develop a Nastaʿlīq Typewriter but
this attempt failed miserably and the file was closed with the phrase
“Preparation of Nastaʿlīq on commercial basis is impossible”.
Basically, in order to develop such a metal type, thousands of pieces
would be required.
Modern Nastaʿlīq typography began with the invention of Noori
Nastaleeq which was first created as a digital font in 1981 through
the collaboration of
Mirza Ahmad Jamil
Mirza Ahmad Jamil TI (as Calligrapher) and
Monotype Imaging (formerly Monotype Corp & Monotype
Typography). Although this was a ground-breaking solution employing
over 20,000 ligatures (individually designed character combinations)
which provided the most beautiful results and allowed newspapers such
Daily Jang to use digital typesetting instead of an army
of calligraphers, it suffered from two problems in the 1990s: (a) its
non-availability on standard platforms such as Windows or Mac OS, and
(b) the non-
WYSIWYG nature of text entry, whereby the document had to
be created by commands in Monotype's proprietary page description
Windows 8 was the first version of
Microsoft Windows to have native
Nastaʿlīq support, through Microsoft's "
Urdu Typesetting" font.
Nastaʿlīq electronic publishing and DTP
InPage Urdu, which is a fully functional page layout software
for Windows akin to Quark XPress, was developed for Pakistan's
newspaper industry. This was done by an Indian software company –
Concept Software Pvt Ltd – led by Rarendra Pratap Singh and Vijay
Krishan Gupta, with the input and help of Firoz Hashmi expert in
Language and a UK company called Multilingual
Solutions (Limited) led by Kamran Rouhi. In this version 40 other
non-Nastaʿlīq fonts which were created by Syed Manzar Hasan Zaidi.
They licensed and improved the Noori Nastaliq font from Monotype at
that time. This font, with its vast ligature base of over 20,000, is
still used in current versions of the software for Windows. As of 2009
InPage has become Unicode based, supporting more languages, and the
Faiz Lahori Nastaliq font with Kasheeda developed by Syed Manzar Hasan
Zaidi, Axis SoftMedia Pvt. Ltd., has been added to it along with
compatibility with OpenType Unicode fonts. Nastaliq
Kashish[clarification needed] has been made for the first
time[clarification needed] in the history of Nastaʿlīq
InPage has been widely marketed and sold in the UK,
elsewhere since 1994, and is utilized in the majority of UK schools
and local authorities where
Urdu is a main language of pupils and
InPage is also reported to be in use on millions of PCs
Pakistan and other countries of the world.
Nowadays, nearly all
Urdu newspapers, magazines, journals, and
periodicals are composed on computers via various
programmes, the most widespread of which is the
Publishing package.
Shekasteh Nastaʿlīq (Persian: شکسته
نستعلیق; "cursive Nastaʿlīq", or literally "broken
Nastaʿlīq") style is a successor of Nastaʿlīq.
A line of poetry by the Iranian poet
Omar Khayyam in Shekasteh
Nastaʿlīq. In print:
این قافلهٔ عُمر عجب میگذرد
A ruba'i of
Omar Khayyam in Shekasteh Nastaʿlīq. In print:
گویند کسان بهشت با حور خوش است
من میگویم که آب انگور خوش است
این نقد بگیر و دست از آن نسیه بدار
کاواز دهل شنیدن از دور خوش است
An excerpt from Shaykh Sa'di's (d. 691/1292) "Gulistan" (The Rose
Shekasteh Nastaʿlīq script.
Fath Ali Shah Qajar's order in
Shekasteh Nastaʿlīq script, January
^ The Cambridge History of Islam. By P. M. Holt, et al., Cambridge
University Press, 1977, ISBN 0-521-29138-0, p. 723.
^ Hamed, Payman. "Famous Calligraphers - Persian Calligraphy- All
about Persian Calligraphy". www.persiancalligraphy.org.
^ ""The Scripts"".
^ "Famous Calligraphers". Persian Calligraphy. Retrieved 12 January
^ Nastaliq Script – Persian
Calligraphy Archived September 28, 2010,
at the Wayback Machine.
^ Khurshiq, Iqbal. "زندگی آگے بڑھنے کا نام اور
جمود موت ہے: نوری نستعلیق کی ایجاد سے
خط نستعلیق کی دائمی حفاظت ہوگئی". Express.
Retrieved 24 November 2013.
^ "The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 9: Nastaleeq vs.
Nastaliq? Either way, Windows 8 has got it!". MSDN Blogs. Retrieved
Habib-ollah Feza'eli, Ta'lim-e Khatt, Tehran: Sorush, 1977 (in
Sheila Blair, Islamic Calligraphy, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University
H.R. Ghelichkhānī, The Oldest Inscriptions written in the
Nast‘alīq Calligraphic Hand, Quarterly Naqd-O-Taḥqīq,
ISSN 2454-2563, Editor: S. Naqi Abbas (Kaify), Volume 1, Issue
IV, pp. 48–54, Oct-Nov-Dec. 2015, New Delhi (in Persian)
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nastaliq.
Rumicode: Online Service For Nastaʿlīq Calligraphy
Nastaliq Online: Online Service For Nastaʿlīq Calligraphy
Download Nastaʿlīq Unicode Font by the Supreme Council of ICT Iran
Download IPA for
Urdu and Roman
Urdu for Mobile and Internet Users
Iranian Calligraphers Association
Center for Research in
Language Processing – Download Urdu
Free True Type font covering basic Nastaʿlīq.
Nastaʿlīq Writer for Macintosh, from the SIL. Requires QuickDraw GX
Mac OS X.
Pak Nastaleeq: Official Pak Nastaleeq Font site
InPage Urdu: Official
Urdu DTP software site
Faiz Nastaliq: Official Faiz Nastaʿlīq site
Short introduction to
Persian calligraphy (in French)
Profiles and works of World
Islamic calligraphy (in French)
Nastaliq Script Persian Calligraphy
Download Noto Nastaliq
Awami Nastaliq: A Nastaʿlīq font by SIL International
Kufic (Geometric Kufic)
Islamic illuminated manuscript
List of Ottoman calligraphers
List of Persian calligraphers
Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation
Museum of Turkish
Society of Iranian Calligraphists
Part of Islamic arts
Influence on other languages
Ancient North Arabian
Ancient South Arabian script
Ancient North Arabian
Old South Arabian
Modern South Arabian
Ethnic / religious
Babalia Creole Arabic
Sun and moon letters
Arabic script in Unicode
aSociolinguistically not Arabic
Tatar (İske imlâ